Predict the Future, Drop Your Pants: New Year’s Eve Traditions Around the World

Around the World, Culture/History — By NileGuide staff on December 31, 2008 at 1:12 pm

From the color of their underwear to the number of grapes they eat at midnight, there are hundreds of ways people from different countries usher in the New Year. Read on for some of our favorites, and let us know if we left any out.

Bleigiessen in Germany

Bleigiessen in Germany

Germany: A popular game to play on New Year’s Eve is “Bleigiessen”. Small pieces of lead are melted in a spoon held over a candle, then dropped into cold water. Their shape predicts what the future will bring.

Mexico: Mexican revelers consume one grape each time the clock chimes at midnight- twelve total. As they eat each grape, they make a wish.

Greece: Bread is baked with a charm secretly placed in it. Whoever gets the piece with the charm is said to have good fortune for the rest of the year.

Puerto Rico: On New Year’s Eve children in Puerto Rico throw buckets of water out of their windows to free their home from evil spirits. Their parents may be found at the beach, falling backwards into the ocean at the stroke of midnight.

Water Throwing in Puerto Rico

Water Throwing in Puerto Rico

Venezuela: In Venezuela, people choose what kind of luck they want for the coming year by their underwear…yellow for money and red for love.

Scotland: One of the oldest New Year’s Eve (known in Scotland as “Hogmanay”) traditions is that of the “First Footer”; the first person to enter your home after midnight brings a degree of luck with them. The luckiest kind of First Footer is a tall, dark and handsome man bearing a small gift.

Texas: Black eyed peas are believed to bring good luck if eaten on New Year’s Eve. Although this tradition can be found all over the world, Texas has really bought into it, and restaurants often serve them on this day regardless of what you order.

Tags: Around the World, New Year's Eve


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